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Advocaat still confident of Sunderland survival

Dick Advocaat remains optimistic that Sunderland can stay in the top-flight despite dropping into the bottom three.

A 1-1 draw with Stoke City – combined with wins for Hull City and Leicester City – saw the Black Cats slip into the danger zone for the first time this season on Saturday, but Advocaat will not be pressing the panic button.

"I am pleased because I think [in] the first half we played very poor and we were lucky it stayed 1-1 at half-time, so I could change something in the line-up.

"From that moment on we started playing football a little bit, it was much better than the first half and we created three or four good opportunities, but those kind of chances at this level you have to score.

"This was a good point and we have to take it into the next game against Southampton - if we can give that commitment I am very positive about it [staying up].

"We have five games to go, everything is open. We will try to be positive to the team, and hopefully they can play like this next week."

Advocaat's squad was without winger Adam Johnson after he was charged on three counts of sexual activity with a girl under the age of 16 and an additional count of grooming on Thursday.

When asked about Johnson, the 67-year-old said: "He did not train for three days, so I thought it best for him to stay away."